James Langston Hughes February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967 He was born in Joplin, Missouri, on February 1, 1902. His parents divorced when he was a small child. His grandparents raised him until the age of thirteen. Langston Hughes began writing poetry in the 8th grade. After which he was selected as class poet. Attended Columbia University, under the influence of his father, where he studied engineering. He dropped out with a B+ and continued his passion of writing poetry. He published his first poem in 1922, at age 20, titled: “The Negro Speaks of Rivers.” One of his finest essays was published in the Nation in 1926, entitled “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain.” His work has appeared in the NAACP publication Crisis Magazine and in other publications. "We younger Negro artists now intend to express our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame. If white people are pleased we are glad. If they aren't, it doesn't matter. We know we are beautiful. And ugly too... If colored people are pleased we are glad. If they are not, their displeasure doesn't matter either. We build our temples for tomorrow, as strong as we know how and we stand on the top of the mountain, free within ourselves." - “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain” We think that the quote from “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain” shows that all Langston Hughes wanted was to express himself, and he didn't care if anybody liked the way he did it or not. Through the experiences he had while traveling the world he developed a new writing style. He returned to Harlem in 1924, during the Harlem Renaissance. This was a time when he work was published frequently and his writing flourished. In 1925 he moved to Washington D.C. Spending much of his time in blues and jazz clubs. "I tried to write poems like the songs they sang on Seventh Street...(these songs) had the pulse beat of the people who keep on going." - Hughes He received a B.A. Degree in 1929 from Lincoln University in PA. He devoted his life to writing and lecture after the publishing of his first book in 1926. He wrote a total of 16 books of poems, 2 novels, 3 collections of short stories, 20 plays and many others. Children's Rhymes By what sends the white kids I ain't sent: I know I can't be President. What don't bug them white kids sure bugs me: We know everybody ain't free. Lies written down for white folks ain't for us a-tall: Liberty And Justice-Huh!-- For All? This poem tells how things were different for people of different races in the 1920s. It shows how he felt about the fact that he was treated unequally. This poem is very appropriate for this point in time, and the events currently taking place in our nation. Dreams Hold fast to dreams For if dreams die Life is a broken-winged bird That cannot fly. Hold fast to dreams For when dreams go Life is a barren field Frozen with snow. We have interpreted the poem “Dreams” to mean that you should never give up on your dreams because if you do then you have no goals to try to reach in life, and nothing to look forward to. It also makes life very boring. The poem shows that one of the most important things in his life were his dreams. He depended on them to help him through his hardships. Sydney hopes that you have enjoyed this presentation and that you are now as inspired as she is to read all of Langston Hughes many works.